Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Model update: Seat Arona FR
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Model update: Seat Arona FR

Date: 22 March 2022   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Sports-inspired equipment grade seems a natural fit for agile SUV.
What's new:
The Arona was facelifted late last year, and is tested here in sports-inspired FR spec.
Standard equipment on FR:
17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED DRLs and tail lights, front fog lights with cornering function and rear fog lights, dark tinted rear windows, electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors, chrome roof rails and window trim, interior ambient lighting, front sports seats, leather steering wheel, leather gear knob and handbrake, 9.2in colour touchscreen, satnav, wireless Apple Carplay, Android Auto, wireless phone charger, dual-zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, selectable drive modes, cruise control and speed limiter, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system, tiredness recognition system, hill hold control, autonomous emergency braking, lane assist.

Having first introduced the Arona, its small SUV, in 2017, Seat unveiled a facelifted version late 2021. Exterior design changes include a new-look front end, with LED headlights now standard and there are also technology updates. Under the skin, however, it's as you were, with an unchanged chassis and a choice of three unaltered petrol engines - no electrified options here.

Although the FR equipment grade tested here is billed as a relatively sporting equipment grade, that's purely cosmetic, with mechanical parts the same as other Aronas (twin exhaust styling and red interior stitching are among the distinguishing features). But it's still good to drive, with handling that's fairly nippy and agile - at the sportier end of the small SUV segment. Although the 110hp engine fitted with our test car is the least powerful available with FR spec - a 150hp version is also offered - performance is still adequate. That is, so long as you ignore the overly optimistic 'change up' eco driving prompts from the dashboard. Speaking of gears, if you opt for the automatic DSG gearbox then you also get selectable drive modes, but there's none of that trickery with our manual test car - not that it's much missed. We did, however, miss having a central armrest, an omission that could make the Arona a less-comfortable choice for long-range drives (and is standard further up the range), though ride quality, which is OK around town, improves at higher speeds.

The facelift has also seen Seat introduce new driver assistance systems to the Arona range, although with the exception of lane assist these are only available with higher-spec models.

When it comes to interior tech, in many areas the Arona is a bit behind the latest fashions, despite the recent updates. Some elements of this are welcome, such as retaining physical ventilation controls rather than burying them in a touchscreen, but on the other hand the continued presence of an old-school analogue instrument panel with this grade does make it seem a bit outdated compared with rivals (higher-spec Arona's get a digital display). That said, the TFT screen you do get between the dials is at least capable of relaying satnav instructions, including from a smartphone. The facelift did bring upgraded infotainment in the form of a larger touchscreen, measuring 9.2in with the spec tested here, which features sharp graphics and is usefully responsive to touches. Also new are wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, and access to remote services via Seat Connect.

FR spec brings lots of sporty red interior details, which look good - we particularly like the illuminated air vent surrounds, also new with the facelift, which glow red at night except when the driver indicates in their direction, presumably to avoid distraction. Material quality is no better than average, though it all feels solidly assembled. As for interior space, rear headroom is good, though we imagine legroom for adults could be a bit tight behind a tall driver. A 400-litre boot is fairly competitive.

Although there's no hybridisation, the Arona still stacks up well on economy and emissions against the likes of the mild hybrid Ford Puma, and also looks well priced. It means that with help from the facelift updates, the Arona remains a competitive option.

Seat Arona 1.0 TSI FR 110PS manual 

P11D: £23,115

Residual value: 37.6% 

Depreciation: £14,414

Fuel: £7,498

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,672

Cost per mile: 39.30p

Fuel consumption: 53.3mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 121g/km (28%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £108/£216

Luggage capacity: 400 litres

Engine size/power: 999cc/110hp


  • Drives well
  • Good on running costs despite no hybrids
  • No digital dash or central armrest with this spec